Well, always there are a few reasons to reject a job...

You’ve been offered a job—and with the unemployment rate these days, that’s a feat—so, why would you turn it down?

Well, there are a few reasons.

By Thodoris Tselas
Journalist - Communication and Public Relations
G. Manager at Bold1.gr

Take it from me. About a year ago, I received an offer for a position that was, in theory, a perfect fit for my skills and goals. 

Plus, the company would increase my salary by 25% and promised mentorship and travel. But something just didn’t feel right, and after a good deal of back and forth, I said no.

I was unemployed for another two months, but a better opportunity came along (with an even higher salary, to boot), and I haven’t regretted it a day since. When I asked my friends if anyone else had ever turned down a job offer, I was surprised to hear how many had made the difficult decision when they knew something just wasn’t right.

Of course, turning down a job offer is a privileged circumstance to have, and that decision as well as all of the following advice should be taken with a dose of reality that the perfect job—the one that fulfills every item on your wish list—rarely exists. That said, finding yourself in the wrong job can have a big impact on your long-term career and happiness, and it’s important to make sure you’re not missing out on what you’re really looking for just to have nailed down something.

Learn from my experience, and consider these reasons why turning down a job offer might make sense for you.

1. Mission

You need to care, to some degree, about what your company is hoping to achieve, but it’s easy to get too excited by any great-sounding job and overlook when an organization is not the best fit. It’s also easy to take the company’s mission statement at face value, without digging further. In fact, the job I turned down at first seemed perfectly aligned with the type of work I was hoping to do. But when I spoke with former employees, individuals at similar organizations, and mentors who work in the space, and when I compared its model to other organizations I trusted, I realized that it was not one I completely respected.

So, do your research beyond what you read on the company website—by talking to people who are familiar with the company, reading up on its current news, and browsing reviews on Glassdoor. Many conversations and further research helped me realize that I couldn’t work at 100% and be my best self if I didn’t believe in what I was working toward.

2. Lack of Growth

Every job you have should add to your resume—and not just in terms of taking up space. If you’re not going to have growth opportunities in terms of roles, knowledge, and new projects or responsibilities, it’s a fair reason to be hesitant about accepting the job.

Take an inventory of what you’re already great at and the skills you want to gain. Will this new job allow you to work on these skills, or do the things you already excel at in a new market or with bigger name clients and teams? Even if you’re looking at a horizontal job move, you should have the opportunity to take on more responsibilities or see a greater possibility of promotion. Remember: If you’re not growing, you’ll either get bored too quickly and not perform at your best, you’ll get too comfortable with what you know and passed up for promotion, or you’ll be looking for a new job again soon. Take a critical eye to the position description and talk to potential colleagues to see if it’ll really be a good fit for you.

3. Warning Signs

The hiring process is scattered, your potential manager is already emailing you on off-hours, or the potential colleagues you met were rude or inappropriate. These signs are easy to dismiss—hey, maybe it’s just a busy season—but they should actually be treated as red flags. Busy season or not, the way you are treated from the first day of communication in the hiring process is very telling as to how you will be treated as an employee.

I’m betting you want to be somewhere for at least a while, right? Look for a hiring process that includes thoughtful interview questions and e-mails, great interviews with multiple employees, and signs that the people who work there are happy, respected, and taken seriously. If you don’t see that, I’d definitely think twice.

4. Timing

It sounds like a small thing, but sometimes the timing on a job offer just isn’t right. A few of my friends turned down job offers to take that extended trip they’ve always dreamed about, or because they wanted to wait to see what other job offers would come through. Of course, sometimes the company wants an immediate answer, which forces you into a quick decision, but if they want you badly enough, they’ll wait. And if not? Could be another warning sign.

If you’ve been on the market for a while and unemployment is beginning to bring too many negative consequences in your life, it might be time to take that offer. But if you have many interviews and opportunities lined up, you can feel more secure in considering turning one down if the timing is just not right.

5. Money

Of course, money certainly isn’t the ultimate factor of consideration. Many people are much happier in positions that are more personally fulfilling—whether that means better career growth or a more aligned mission—than they would be making more somewhere else...but... No money, no honey darling!

PS. Mention that you would like to leave the door open for the future, when circumstances may have changed

Turning down a reasonable job offer shouldn’t be done lightly. Once the final version is on the table, you can ask for a day or two to think it over. During this period you can honestly assess the merits of this opportunity. If it doesn’t meet your minimum standards then you may be better off to politely decline and keep looking.

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